Juglall saves the best for last

Kranji-based jockey wins on the last of his nine rides in his native Mauritius

Nooresh Juglall was heading towards a winless day to his one-day visit at his hometown of Mauritius on Sunday until DECLARATOR came to his rescue to spare him the blushes in the very last race.

The Kranji-based jockey was invited to ride Solar Star in the island's biggest race of the year, the Air Mauritius Maiden Cup.

The 2,400m feature was held at the racing-mad nation's only racecourse, the Champ de Mars, with the popular jockey, who enjoys a bit of cult status with his fans back home, invariably drawing a full book of rides on the nine-race programme.

Unfortunately for him, none of his first eight rides obliged.

They included four well-backed favourites like Emaar (second), Var's Dream (third), Independence (eighth) and League Of Legends (fourth), as well as Solar Star in the Maiden Cup.

Solar Star finished fourth behind the favourite, Enaad, who was ridden by Steven Arnold for the country's most famous yard, the Gujadhurs.

Down but not quite out, Juglall went into the last race with one bullet left, 4-1 chance Declarator, and what a ripper of a ride it turned out to be, as he dug deep into his bag of tricks to save his day in the get-out stakes, the Air Mauritius Holidays Cup over 1,500m.

Declarator, indeed, proved a handful after showing the way, especially in the last 200m as he hung in badly under pressure.

That elusive win was again slipping through his hands with the Ryan Wiggins-ridden Rock Hard seemingly profiting from the gelding's waywardness.

But Juglall was not denied his chance to salute before his home crowd as he pulled out all the stops to get his horse to scrape home by a long neck from Rock Hard.

"I'm so glad I was able to save my day in the very last. The horse (Declarator) was a nightmare to handle in the last bit, but he dug down deep," said Juglall, who missed last Friday's standalone Kranji meeting to make it in time for the Mauritius gig.

"I was able to keep my horse in a straight line even if he wanted to hang in.

"My other horses ran okay, some of them were over the odds, I thought. I probably made a mistake on Emaar, I should have launched him earlier when the pace slackened up, but anyway, it's one of those things.

"Most importantly, I got a win and that's what matters. I'm on my way to the airport now and will be back in Singapore tomorrow."